A high school experience marred by the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop these seniors from excelling.
As Coupeville High School gets ready for graduation June 11, the school community is honoring those students who went above and beyond in the academic field.
The class of 2022’s top 10 graduating seniors are athletes, scientists and most importantly, engaged members of the community who will continue to achieve well beyond the day they turn their tassels.
Jaden Goodrich participated in a variety of athletic activities during his time in high school. He played a year of football, wrestling, basketball and track and field, and once even hiked over 100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in a week.
But the graduate also briefly dabbled in the arts.
“I got my first and only lunch detention when me and several others burst into song during a study hall,” he said, recalling his funniest high school memory.
Goodrich also remembered enjoying the anecdotes teachers would share during classes.
Though the pandemic was difficult for Goodrich, with the transition to online school negatively impacting his health and social skills, he still achieved excellent grades, earning a 3.8 GPA.
He encouraged underclassmen to complete homework assignments as soon as possible.
“Procrastination is a poor habit that will negatively affect you in high school and beyond,” he said.
Sophie Martin was grateful to be at school in person for her senior year because it allowed her to get closer with her group of friends.
A lifelong athlete, Martin joined the varsity soccer team when she moved to Coupeville her sophomore year. She also played two years of tennis.
Her funniest memory from high school was the time her entire class, including the teacher, played a prank on her.
“I missed a day of class because I slept in, so my teacher decided to tell me I had to do a class presentation on the most important part of the brain the next day,” she said. “I had no idea what part of the brain I thought was most important, so I was saying nonsense. The whole class was in on it, including my teacher.”
Martin encouraged underclassmen to step out of their comfort zones and try out as many activities as possible. She will be attending Arizona State University at the Tempe campus in the fall and majoring in psychology.
For Cole Hutchinson, the pandemic became a time to further his academic achievements. He took advantage of his extra time to dive into independent personal study.
Hutchinson’s rigorous course load was his biggest accomplishment during his time in high school.
“High school is just a stepping stone in my educational journey so I am glad I made the most of it and exhausted all resources available,” he said.
The graduate was also an outfielder on the varsity baseball team senior year and a quarterback on the varsity football team for three years.
Hutchinson said he is looking forward to graduation “because it is an iconic milestone in one’s life.” He will be attending Seattle Pacific University in the fall as a dual-major pre-med student.
For graduate Caleb Meyer, high school was a process of self-discovery. During his senior year, he moved back to Coupeville after attending a larger school in Lynnwood. He remembered “truly being accepted” when he returned.
Remote school was difficult for him as online connections don’t feel real to him the way in-person interactions do, but the isolation gave him the opportunity to learn self-compassion.
“When I was alone, I had to accept who I was,” he said.
His advice to underclassmen was to learn to express themselves through writing, music or dance and to listen deeply to themselves and others.
Meyer played Amateur Athletic Union basketball for six years, and high school basketball for four years, as well as two years of varsity track and field and one year of chess club. His athletic career will continue at Skagit Valley College this fall, where he will play basketball.
Senior Xavier Murdy was another player on this year’s legendary basketball team. The boy’s team was undefeated this year and made it to the state tournament for the first time in over three decades.
“It was the best basketball year I’ve ever had,” said Murdy, who played all four years of high school and captained the varsity team for his last two years.
A multi-talented athlete, Murdy also played three years of varsity soccer and two years of varsity baseball, but his skills weren’t limited to athletics. The graduate also participated in the Running Start program and will graduate not just with a high school diploma, but also with a two-year transfer degree from Skagit Valley College. He plans to go on to another university this fall and study civil engineering.
He told underclassmen to keep pushing forward, no matter how hard high school may get.
“Your failures will be the catalyst for success in high school if you never give up,” he said.
One of graduate Alana Mihill’s funniest memories from high school was when she got lost in the woods for hours during a cross country practice.
“What was supposed to be a casual run became about 12 miles. We had to dodge spiders in trees and ended up on a cliffside,” she said, adding that it ended up being a fun experience.
Mihill ran on the varsity cross country team for two years. She also participated in track and field, Future Farmers of America and National Honor Society and started volunteering.
The senior advised underclassmen to get a jump start on scholarships and post high school plans.
This fall, Mihill will continue her associate degree at Skagit Valley College.
For Mary Milnes, senior year flew by — but that didn’t stop her from achieving a lot during that time. With a 3.991 GPA, Milnes is the Coupeville High School class of 2022 valedictorian, a feat she identified as her greatest accomplishment in high school.
The graduate played four seasons of soccer, including one year as captain, and three seasons of tennis. She also participated in National Honor Society, National History Day and Associated Student Body.
Her funniest high school memory is the time a mystery mischief-maker threw raw beef at her friend’s car.
“We still don’t know who did it,” she said.
Milnes will attend the University of Washington this fall and major in biology.
With a 3.975 GPA, graduate Ian Sylvester earned the distinction of Coupeville High School’s class of 2022 salutatorian.
Sylvester participated in the Mission Impossible and Boomilever events of Science Olympiad his freshman and sophomore years. Winning fifth place in the Boomilever event one year was his greatest achievement in high school, he said.
His funniest high school memory was the first and only time he attended a high school soccer game; he couldn’t locate the bleachers, he said, and a player on the team had to point them out to him.
“I don’t know how I missed them, they’re huge,” he said. “It was very embarrassing at the time, but I laugh at it now.”
After graduation, Sylvester plans to take a gap year to figure out what he wants to do next.
Isabelle “Izzy” Wells
Izzy Wells’ post high school plans are taking her across the country to Florida, where she plans to study forensic science at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
During high school, she earned an associate degree through the Running Start program, which she identified as one of her biggest accomplishments.
“I’m proud of myself for handling the transition well by getting good grades at the college level,” she said. “I’m also a busy person, so I’m happy I was able to organize my time accordingly.”
She encouraged underclassmen to practice good time management as well, and reminded them that “getting one bad grade is not the end of the world.”
Sports were also an important part of her high school career. Wells played four seasons of softball and basketball and one season of soccer and volleyball. She said she will always remember her final softball and basketball games of senior year.
“It’s sad to think that was going to be my last time playing them, but I’m happy I had the memorable experience,” she said.
Another athlete, graduate Eryn Wood said playing sports will always be one of her key memories from senior year.
Wood played soccer for three years and tennis for four, but her talents extended beyond the athletic field; she also participated in Science Olympiad and Leo club, a youth leadership organization.
Like several of her peers, Wood earned her associate degree during high school. She plans to attend the University of Colorado this fall and major in exercise science.
Despite the difficulties posed by having so much of her high school experience take place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wood said she saw it as a learning opportunity.